Punching his final day, Blair Fradsham was having mixed emotions on June 29, but felt the time was right to leave his position as assistant superintendent of the West Coast Correctional Centre.
“I’ve always loved the uniform and feel proud to have worn it for this long,” he said of his nearly 33-year career. “I’m proud of what I accomplished and nobody can take that from me.”
During those years he worked in Labrador, in Corner Brook and at the Women’s Correctional Centre in Clarenville, but the majority of his career was spent in Stephenville, where he grew up.
Fradsham said he was fortunate to come into the system as a correctional officer and rise up to the rank of lieutenant. At one point he was in charge of the Corner Brook Detention Centre as captain, and has been the assistant superintendent in Stephenville for a little more than four and a half years.
“There comes a time to hang up the keys and for someone else to take over and put their ideas to work,” he said.
Fradsham said it was amazing that in the year he is retiring, the building he was working in has now been open for 40 years.
He said the West Coast Correctional Centre is a big contributor to the economy, with about 50 employees.
Fradsham said there are a lot of services provided for offenders, as the facility houses both federal and provincial inmates.
He said the correctional centre is recognized as a primary institution for the delivery of programs to inmates because of its supports from the John Howard Society and the Canadian Mental Health Association Newfoundland and Labrador.
Thinking back over the years, he said one thing that stuck out was while working with females in Clarenville. An inmate told him it was good to have a male in her life who was having a positive influence on her.
“To me, at the time, you’re helping someone to go through a tough period in her life and it’s nice to know you made a difference and was helping put her on the road to recovery,” he said.
Fradsham said corrections is a challenging field, but at the West Coast Correctional Centre, where they have an open-custody model, staff does remarkable work in dealing with the issues of the offenders.
In the early years of the prison it was more of a minimum security facility with short-term offenders. Today, with federal inmates, needs have changed and the goal is to rehabilitate offenders for reintegration back into society.
“Leaving is bittersweet,” Fradsham said of the job he was dedicated to.